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A Christmas with (Almost) No Carol

Holiday season means a return of old favorites
Eugene Ballet Company presents The Nutcracker
Eugene Ballet Company presents The Nutcracker

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

This, of course, is a passage from A Christmas Carol. Along with, perhaps, filmmaker Frank Capra’s transformative classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, Dickens’ classic novella of redemption has become such a holiday staple that most folks couldn’t give a curdled eggnog if they ever saw it again. A sentimentalist at heart, this makes me sad — I mean, we are a nation ruled by Scrooges, now more than ever — but I understand.

Apparently, so do the folks who stock our Eugene stages; this year, the only Carol you’ll find is the return production of Ballet Fantastique’s An American Christmas Carol, which refashions Dickens’ story as a World War II fable full of dance and song, including local jazz chanteuse Halie Loren performing classics by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole. See the ballet Dec. 15-17 at the Hult Center; info and tickets at hultcenter.org.

And, if it’s warm and fuzzy familiarity you crave this winter season, fret not, stocking stuffers! We will always have The Nutcracker, performed by Eugene Ballet Company, Dec. 22-24, also at the Hult.

And now for something a little different: Support Centro Latino Americano’s good works Dec. 2 by attending Wayward Lamb’s “Christmas Show and Toy Drive” — a fabulous diva show and fundraiser hosted by local legends Daphne Storm and Diva Simone Slaughter. The show starts at 7 pm (doors at 6 pm), is 21-and-up and costs a mere $10.

Oregon Contemporary Theatre embraces a similar spirit of sassy fun with “America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet,” The Kinsey Sicks, an off-Broadway troupe that will perform its latest show, Things You Shouldn’t Say! for four performances only, Nov. 30-Dec. 2; tickets at octheatre.org or 541-465-1506. Be warned, they say: “If you love Donald Trump, you’ll hate this show!”

Over in the “Grove” at Cottage Theatre you can unhitch the Grinch in your giddyup with Seussical, a musical celebration of all things Theodor Geisel, narrated by The Cat in The Hat and featuring Horton the Elephant, running Dec. 1-23; info and tickets at cottagetheatre.org or 541-942-8001. At Very Little Theatre’s Stage Left, dig into a production of The Christmas Foundling, a yuletide heartstring-tugger about an orphaned boy raised by miners, set on Christmas Eve, 1850, during California’s Gold Rush.

Our local children’s theater, Upstart Crow, offers a musical presentation of The Polar Express, a newfound holiday classic about a boy’s magic train ride to the North Pole, running Dec. 8-10 and 15-17 at the company’s Crow’s Nest Theatre; info and tickets at upstartcrowstudio.org or 541-688-8260.

And for a different breed of live performance, watch the talented folks at Radio Redux put on a staged reading of The Shop Around the Corner, Ernst Lubitsch’s legendary 1940 romantic comedy starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan (and the inspiration for You’ve Got Mail), running Dec. 8-10 at the Hult; tickets at hultcenter.org.

If festive movement is your thing, Lane Community College’s dance department presents Identity Dance Company, “What Christmas Means to Me,” Dec. 15-16 at Ragozzino Performance Hall on campus; tickets and info at lanecc.edu. And Dec. 17 at the Hult, Eugene Symphony presents Cirque de la Symphonique Holiday Spectacular, a show promising “astonishing feats of acrobatic wizardry on — and above — the stage,” and featuring seasonal classics from the orchestra, including music from The Nutcracker.

And, remember, always keep your eye on EW’s weekly What’s Happening calendar for further seasonal events and shows that might pop up between now and the New Year.